The latest Colorado Water Stewardship Project newsletter is hot off the presses

Justian I first codifier of riparian rights
Justian I first codifier of riparian rights

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

The Colorado Water Congress Board unanimously adopted a resolution opposing a public trust doctrine at its December 6th meeting.

The resolution declared:
A public trust doctrine is unwise, unnecessary, disruptive to the fair and responsible allocation and stewardship of Colorado’s scarce water resources, and an unwarranted taking of vested property interests. –December 6, 2013

The resolution cites the risks to agricultural users and major concerns for Colorado’s economic stability. The Board also opposed the doctrine because it would increase uncertainty in the ownership and right to use water, and shift control from the local water providers to the courts in the form of litigation.

Board Chairman Regan Waskom said the Colorado Water Congress will strongly encourage its membership to adopt similar resolutions. “It is important that the water community be absolutely clear that the public trust doctrine, in whatever form it might be offered, would be a disaster for Colorado citizens and for good water management.”

View the Colorado Water Congress Resolution on a Public Trust Doctrine HERE.

More Public Trust Doctrine coverage here.

The Eagle River Watershed Council: Snowmaking & Ski Area Water Rights ski tour, January 13

Copper Mountain snowmaking via ColoradoSki.com
Copper Mountain snowmaking via ColoradoSki.com

From email from the Eagle River Watershed Council

Join us Monday, January 13th to see firsthand what snowmaking is all about!

9 – 11:30 a.m. meet @ the base of Lionshead Gondola

With the expert guidance of Dave Tucholke, Vail’s Snowmaking Manager, we will be strapping on our skis and touring Vail Mountain to learn more about snowmaking: the history, equipment and process behind the snow we have come to rely on each November. Tom Allender, Director of Mountain Planning for Vail & Beaver Creek, will share his knowledge of ski area water rights and explain the mountain’s “plumbing system” from source to snow.

This will be a unique look at Vail’s snowmaking from atop your very own skis!

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Space is limited, so please RSVP to outreach@erwc.org to reserve your spot now!

**We will be spending most of the morning on skis so we ask that only intermediate and expert skiers/boarders sign up**

More education coverage here.

The annual Big Dry Creek Watershed Association newsletter is hot off the presses

Colorado Boulevard crossing at Big Dry Creek below the Union Pacific Railroad during the September 2013 flood
Colorado Boulevard crossing at Big Dry Creek below the Union Pacific Railroad during the September 2013 flood

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

In September 2013, Coloradoans were reminded of the power of nature during a multi-day rainfall event. Communities along Big Dry Creek experienced significant damage to road infrastructure, businesses, homes, and agricultural lands.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service Hydromete- orological Design Studies Center (HDSC) devel- oped maps showing annual exceedance probabilities (AEPs) of the worst case rainfall for the Colorado event that started on September 9, 2013. The AEP is the probability of exceeding a given amount of rainfall at least once in any given year at a given location. It is an indicator of the rarity of amounts of rainfall and is used as the ba- sis of hydrologic design and regulation. The multi-day storm event delivered total rainfall amounts that exceeded 15 inches in some locations as it slowly moved through the area and caused extensive river flooding (HDSC 2013).

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.

2014 Colorado legislation: Legislators are floating proposals for streamlining flood recovery projects #COflood

St. Vrain River floodplain November 2013 via the Longmont Times-Call
St. Vrain River floodplain November 2013 via the Longmont Times-Call

Here’s a report from the Associated Press (Ivan Moreno) via the Summit Daily News:

Destruction from September’s Colorado floods is prompting proposals that state lawmakers say are aimed at removing bureaucratic obstacles to expedite rebuilding efforts. Some of the proposals haven’t been finalized, but the legislative session that begins next month could see several bills in reaction to one of the worst disasters in state history.

“We’re going to learn more things as we go along. For some people, it’s going to take years to recover,” said Sen. Matt Jones, a Democrat on a bipartisan committee formed to study the impacts of the floods and come up with legislation.

A bill that Jones plans to introduce would allow counties to shift some their general fund dollars to their road and bridge funds for infrastructure repair — a transfer that current law forbids. The Colorado Department of Transportation already has made repairs to state highways to reopen damaged roads before a Dec. 1 goal. But local governments are still repairing roads and bridges, and they’re facing cash flow problems while they wait for reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Jones said. Letting counties use their general fund money for road and bridge repair would allow them to speed up work, he said.

Another proposal addresses the damage to irrigation ditches that farmers rely on. In some cases, the point of diversion for rivers and ditches is not the same as it was before the floods, lawmakers said. A bill would allow changes to the point of diversion without going through the lengthy administrative process of water court. The goal is to allow farmers to continue producing their crops as soon as possible, said Republican Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, who is sponsoring the bill.

Rep. Brian DelGrosso, the Republican leader in the House and a member of the flood committee, said the irrigation measure tackles a problem that’s not immediately visible to many.

“Everybody always sees the roads, they see the bridges, they see everything else that’s affected,” he said. “But it’s really hard to see some of the water infrastructure needs.”[…]

Other legislative ideas that are being considered but are not yet finalized:

— Giving schools impacted by flooding priority for grants under a capital construction program called Building Excellent Schools Today.

— Waiving or reimbursing property taxes for people who had their property destroyed.

— Not requiring out-of-state disaster workers to file or pay Colorado income taxes if they travel to the state to help.

More 2014 Colorado legislation coverage here.